tv CNN Newsroom With Brooke Baldwin CNN December 29, 2016 12:00pm-1:01pm PST
the u.s. government is retaliating over russia's hacking of the u.s. election. in abunprecedented step, the obama administration has just named names of those believed to be responsible. six russians and five entities including russia's main intelligence body now facing sanctions. this as obama orders 35 russian operatives to leave the united states and they have to do so within 72 hours. the president also announcing it is shutting down two russian compounds here in the u.s. russia will now fall victim to expanded sanctions, diplomatic measures and later covert actions russia warning it will respond to any hostile new steps. cnn's athena jones is following the latest developments. i'm joined by cnn justice correspondent evan perez. first to you athena in honolulu. the obama administration releasing a lengthy statement. what more? is next? >> hi, fred, that's right. it's a lengthy statement.
i want to read to you some of the highlights of it. i won't read you all of it. we know the president says he's taking these actions, a number of actions, in response to what he calls the russian's governments harassment of u.s. officials and cyber operations aimed at the u.s. election. the president says these moves are being taken after repeated private and public warnings to the russian government. he calls these steps necessary and appropriate efforts -- necessary and appropriate response to efforts to harm u.s. interests and the president says all americans should be alarmed by russia's actions. so let's go through some of the steps that the government is taking. the treasury department has named nine individuals that will be subject to expanded sanctions. those include russia's intelligence mupt and the head of the unit as well as the domestic security service the state department is declaring 35 russian intelligence operatives -- in other words, spies, as persona non grata.
that gives them 72 hours to leave the country and the government is shutting down two russian-government owned compounds, one in maryland, another in new york that were used they say to conduct intelligence activity. the government is also going to be releasing information, the department of homeland security and the federal bureau -- the fbi are going to be releasing declassified technical information on russian civilian and military intelligence service activity to provide those who try to help defense networks and defense cyber networks, it will give them the information they need that could help them t detect and disrupt any ongoing efforts by russian hackers. so a lot of information coming out today. we're still digesting it, frankly, fred. >> athena, thank you so much. evan, that you can us through what specifics we know about these retaliatory measures. >> one of the things that's most interesting in listening to a white house call that's still
ongoing at this moment, fred, is the fact that even though they're taking these actions, obama administration officials know that the russians aren't going to stop doing this type of thing. we've already seen in europe where we have upcoming elections in germany, they've said publicly they've seen the same tactics that the u.s. said were being used by russian intelligence agencies in the past year. they've noticed them being used as well in those countries and listening to white house officials and administration officials on this conversation call ongoing with reporters, it's clear they don't believe that the russians are going to stop and one of the key parts of the announcement today by the administration is this effort by the fbi and the homeland security department which is to publish and provide to the private sector a lot of the details, a lot of information they've collected in the past couple of years on the activities by the fsb, the gru,
the hackers that work for these organizations. so i.t. professionals can know what to look for if they see activity with these hacking groups. the problem with this is that you publish this information, declassify this, it becomes publicly known and those spy services can simply change their operations. they'll change their tactics so we expect that's what's going to happen in the next few days. >> and one has to wonder if you're going that now and this has been common knowledge in the intelligence community then why not have done that before? don't you open yourself up to that criticism when you do make that public? >> absolutely. and you see the response from members of congress on capitol hill who are already saying it's about time you did this. and it is true that certainly the intelligence agencies, the fbi have been watching this going on for the past couple of years. they -- these same security services, the fsb and the gru
have been doing break ins of computer systems not only at the white house, state department, joint chiefs of staff. that's one reason why when they saw them breaking into the democratic national committee last year they knew what they were looking for and who was behind this. so the question if the administration has been why did you wait so long? if you loon to them, their view is that we needed the intelligence agencies, we needed the law enforcement organizations to do their work and the fact remains fred that as the campaign got on in the last few months there was a concern in inside the white house that they not be seen to be favoring hillary clinton. they thought hillary clinton was going to win and they didn't want to give donald trump any excuse to claim the election was rigged which was something he was already saying so that's part of what happened at the white house and certainly inside the administration as they've been debating for the last few
months about what to do about this. fred? >> evan perez, thank you so much. athena jones as well. appreciate it. let's talk more about this with my panel jill dougherty, former cnn moscow bureau chief and russia consultant. cnn military analyst mark hertling, also want to bring in david andelman editor emeritus of world policy journal and a cnn.com opinion contributor and cnn military analyst major general james spider marks also with us. we have a big panel right here. what more do we know about the 35 russian operatives who have been ordered to lead the u.s.? does that mean there are dozens more who will be allowed to remain in the u.s. as russian operative operatives? >> that's the easiest part of it because obviously the u.s. would allege they were spies. we don't know what they did but you can imagine that in a tit for tat response, the russians
will be kicking out png, as they say, persona non grata and kicking out americans out of moscow from the embassy so that is in a sense kind of the cold war scenario, but then you get into some other things that have been pretty nasty. i'm noting this statement by mark toner of the state department about activities that have been carried out against american diplomats in moscow. traffic stops, revealing personal information about those diplomats on russian television which the united states says could have imperilled them. so these are things that the u.s. has been talking with the russians behind the scenes for quite a while. that has been going on literally for years but it has been getting much worse than the last year so a lot of this was kind of percolating beneath the surface and you note in that statement that the
administration says they told the russians, they raised this to them numerous times but privately and apparently they say it didn't have much response and so they're making it very public and getting as close to president putin as they can. these are -- maybe the individuals are not known to people widely but their positions are and the gru and the fsb are very close because after all president putin used to be the head of ifsb in germany. >> general hertling, what are your concerns about u.s. operatives, u.s. personnel on the ground in russia and what this means for them. >> great concerns, frederica. let me coin afraid for you that's well known in the cyber community but not well known by the american public and that's cyber skirmishing. that's what's been going on for
the last 10 years. it's been a back and forth between great countries. a lot of things have been going on and there's been an attempt to deter full-scale cyber war because when that happens you're talking about unbelievable amounts of destruction, huge mayhem and some distrust that is seated by the use of this cyber activity. that's what we're seeing right now. that the russians have overstepped the bounds of cyber skirmishing which we do, too, truthfully. and they have gone more into the realm of operations like they did in 2007 in estonia where they literally shut down not only the government but banking institutions, private servers, personal servers and public servers and put that country in a tail spin. we're sighing some of that now and what the president has now done is saying okay, we have reached the boundaries of cyber skirmishing, we have to lay down the card and a no more. and he has the means to do that, we have some vulnerabilities.
they have some vulnerabilities but we have a great amount of intel which i think my good friend spider could talk about and we're saying we know what you're doing, knock it off and now we're playing a tougher card. >> general marks, how do you weigh where the risks might be greater if the u.s. -- if the obama administration had not made it public versus kept it quiet and removed the russian operatives from the u.s. or imposed sanctions without the public knowing. >> fredricka, at some point the u.s. actions would be known. the point that i've been trying to make is that for the united states to declare a pryiori wha their intentions are and then to follow through their intentions and lay them out provides a level of risk to the united states that each one of those actions may not achieve the desired intended affect.
that's the issue that we have. those 35 diplomats which are spies should have been discharged. should have been told time for you to go home, that could have been done quietly. would it have been public? it absolutely would have been so the fact of the matter is the united states needed to take action as a matter of routine and sadly and cynically what we see now is i think a scaling of actions right now that are not too little but are far too late. this is routine behavior as mark hertling very clearly described. activity online has been taking place almost forever and it has achieved the level of a domain of war so what we have to do is bound that in some way with some protocols that allow us to take actions that are a matter of routine and not to make these a big deal. that's the challenge we have right now. now it's arms are up in the air, we have a transition and this
becomes a big deal if the intended desired outcome is not achieve achieved. >> i wonder if there are a few missions behind the obama white house's revealings of these sanctions, expelling people from the country, whether it be embarrassment to vladimir putin in this country, perhaps transparency to the american people for an election that came with so many questions about the cyber hacking or perhaps a challenge to the next administration. it's multifaceted, isn't it? >> it's interesting to step back and look at who is the real target here? the real target is vladimir putin. we can't target him directly. but you have to know he knew everything about this. >> this would not come as a surprise? >> gosh people who know him from the kremlin -- >> meaning the expelling of 35 operatives? >>. >> but you have to understand he gets multiple -- in addition to
his own background, he gets multiple briefings everyday from all of his intelligence people. he knows everything going on. people tell me he gets transcripts of conversations between people on his own staff that he will read. >> kgb all the time. >> fsb, which was the kgb, gru. he is a creature. to sent him a message is what this is about in my view. >> jill, how does this translate there and how does it either provoke the leadership of vladimir putin or perhaps undermine him. >> well, i think as everyone has been saying, vladimir putin knows the game, he knows the game very well, he knows what's going on in cyber and he knows these traditional kick diplomats out motives. but what's important about this, i think the united states is saying -- or let's call it the obama administration is
saying -- that there was a boundary that was crossed when russia began interfering in the election process. before that, it was find out information, maybe use it, maybe there's economics, et cetera. but when you start fooling around with elections, i think that's where the obama administration said this can't go on and then also you have this amazing aspect of it which is the incoming president says that he doesn't accept that that is true. so there may be a message that the obama administration is giving, this is real and this is war and here is the step we're going to take again trying to carefully tread to give a message. there's no rules, no law war about cyber yet.
>> jill, thank you so much. >> go, general, if i may i. we talked about the threats posed by isis. are they existential or not. and when you talk about as jill just did the potential for a foreign government to affect our daily life and our mode of operation and constitutionally declared government, that's an existential threat. it threatens our existence as a country. it's important to remember those doing this activity are threatening our existence. >> all excellent points. we'll talk more. more breaking news with syrian president bashar al assad. what he just said about the future of the trump presidency.
welcome back. i'm fredricka whitfield. breaking news. syrian president bashar al assad reacting to the future of a trump presidency. in an interview with an italian news outlet, assad says he is optimistic with caution. i want to bring in mohammad lila in istanbul. more on this. >> we have the full transcript that syria's president bernie sanders -- syria's president bashar al assad was asked what he thought
the incoming trump presidency would mean for syria. and it's optimistic not that trump would solve the syrian crisis overnight but because it would lead to better relations with russia and the united states. and russia has been a key backer of the syrian government since this conflict began. it will have a closer relationship, it would help solve many problem in the world specifically, specifically the syrian crisis. this comes as there are peace talks set to get under way. peace talks brokered without the united states involvement but those peace talks will take place in kazakhstan with iran, syria, turkey and russia on board. russia today almost offering an olive branch not, mind you, to president obama, but to incoming president-elect trump saying that they're hopeful that president-elect trump might want a seat at that table to help establish some sort of peace in syria. so we're clearly starting to see a positioning of russia and
syria more hopeful than under a trump presidency the syrian conflict might be solve. >> reporter: mohammad lila in istanbul, thank you so much. meantime, in this country right now, security measures are ramping up from coast to coast ahead of new year's eve weekend celebrations. this just ten days after a man inspired by isis plowed into a crowd at a berlin christmas market killing 12 people. and here in new york, police will implement brand new security measures for time square traditional new year's eve ball drop and celebration. brynn gingras is live in times square. brynn, what are you hearing? >> fred, it's taking lessons from you just talked about. they happened in berlin and nice. so what we're hearing from the nypd is that they're adding 65
sand trucks not just here in times square but others that there are new year's eve celebration celebrations there are 100 barrier trucks that are department vehicles parked in the streets so cars can't come down. these are new security measures that haven't been taking place to this extent yet. again, lessons learned from what we saw from those terror attacks overseas and really the nypd says it's about everyone being on their toes, being aware, the public helping out and no complacency. >> i know it's complacency that can set in at times but not in an event like this. everybody knows the eyes of the world are upon times square new year's eve night so there will be no complacency. >> and when we talk about that extra layer, fred, that is just one layer of so many layers of security that the nypd has put
in place for this celebration come new year's eve, fred. >> all right, brynn gingras in times square. thanks so much. pasadena police are also stepping up security for monday's tournament of roses parade. hundreds of thousands of people are expected to be on hand to watch the parade of the marching bands and the flower-covered floats. more than a thousand police officers and a dozen bomb sniffing dogs will be working the five plus mile parade route. pasadena police chief phillip sanchez joining me live now so chief sanchez, good to see you. you've been studying terror activity abroad. what have you learned from them that helped your department prepare for this upcoming parade. >> thank you for having me on the show and happy new year to you and your visitors. the truth is many lessons we've learned have come about from collaboration and communication, increasing those components to ensure that the passing of the police department understand the
mechanism of threat, the delivery methodology and how best to mitigate that. in recent issues involving a vehicle incursion along the roadways haas caused us to re-evaluate the parade this year and we're taking steps to mitigate that threat. >> are you tackling security with help from other jurisdictions and braps even on the federal level? >> absolutely. we're in constant contact with the fbi, the jttf and other law enforcement entities. seechs plays a role. customs. security measures are consistently evaluating and that relationship with the state, local and federal government
really helps us deliver a finely tuned product. >> so it's become the norm for you. is it your feeling this kind of large scale security planning is becoming the norm across the country as it pertains to large events? >> absolutely. any time i think there's a gathering of a modest amount of people, we need to be concerned about whatever the security threat might be. in an asymmetrical environment the truth is we have to consistently be vigilant. we'll have, for example, an on site threat assessment center so through our cooperation with the federal government we'll be able to have analysts who will give us realtime information about potential threats to the rose parade or the rose bowl game. and as you've heard many, many times before from a lot of different law enforcement officials. we're asking people that are coming to the parade and coming to the rose bowl game if you see something, say something. law enforcement is very sophisticated. we're well prepared, we have a great plan. our community also plays an
important role and if you see something suspicious you can alert a uniformed officer. >> chief phillip sanchez, thank you so much. all the best, happy new year and of course we're wishing the most exciting, a parade of roses, a festive good time. thanks so much. >> thank you again. >> more now, the u.s. government releasing names of the russian hackers and now we have pictures to go along with those names. we'll have more of this information for you when we come right back.
payback is under way. president obama is hitting back at russia for hacking the u.s. election. specifically the dnc and hillary clinton's campaign chairman during the 2016 race the obama administration has named names of those believed to be responsible, six russians and five entities including russia's main intelligence body facing sanctions. this as obama orders 35 russian operatives to leave the united states and they have to do so within 72 hours. among those sanctions, these two individuals who were wanted by the fbi for crimes including computer intrusion and computer fraud. the president also announcing it is shutting down two russian compounds in the u.s., one in maryland, the other in new york. russia will now fall victim to expanded sanctions, diplomatic measures and, later, covert actions. russia warning it will respond to any hostile new steps. for more on russia's reaction
now, let's go live to moscow. cnn senior international correspondent matthew chance is there. so, matthew, what do we know about these 35 operatives and the six russians back in russia? >> well, not a great deal. i mean, the 35 individuals, the russian citizens who have been expelled from the united states, they're diplomat bus we understand that are mainly working in the consulate so that needs to be clarified by u.s. authorities. vladimir putin's spokesperson is dimitry peskov and he gave us the first indication of what the kremlin is going to do in retaliation for these pretty harsh sanctions that came from the state department and treasury against individuals and institutions. they didn't come out with specific measures but said these are groundless allegations,
hacking allegations and the allegations that were made by the state department that u.s. diplomats in moscow have been mistreated and unfairly targeted. they were groundless allegations, the sanctions and the expulsions are illegal under international law. that's the other thing. dimitry peskov said the spokesperson of vladimir putin. we don't know yet what will be the exact response he said but there is no alternative to recipro cap meresip r recipro cal measures so the kremlin giving indication that with the expulsion of 35 of its diplomats from the united states it will be looking at doing the same thing in terms of u.s. diplomats being expelled from here but he said it's up to vladimir putin, the russian president, to decide and this is what he added at the end -- "and he is in no rush to make a decision." that was the briefing we got from the kremlin. very thin in terms of concrete measures but a few hints at what we can expect in the days ahead from the kremlin in terms of a
response to this. >> and then there are photographs. we just teased, you know, there are photographs of at least one person. the fbi is releasing that among those who are wanted by the fbi alexsey belan. when you say they are it is against international law to go after these individuals, what to the issue of whether hacking is breaking any law and what kind of response is coming from vladimir putin's office on the actual notion of infiltrating cyber tacking, especially as it pertains to u.s. elections?
>> in terms of the legality of the united states putting pictures out there, the u.s. will have taken on its own advice. i'm merely passing on what the kremlin say their position. but it's an interesting development. they put these names out there, they put these photographs out there as well and i think it's interesting because it's the one thing that can't be overturned when donald trump comes into office in three weeks from now. he may be able to get rid of the sanctions, he may be able to kind of paper over the differences when it comes to these expulsions of diplomats and he may even be able to overturn the sanctions that have been imposed on russia by the united states over the past several years over its annexation of crimea and other issues as well. but he can't take those images back and that may have been done intentionally by the obama administration to make sure there was some lasting resonance from these measures well into the trump administration when that begins. >> as cryptic as it might be from some corner, the floodgates have opened as it pertains to a response coming from many different entities. thank you so much matthew chance
there in moscow, evan perez joining us now because now we understand there are some responses, a joint statement coming from homeland security and the fbi. what more can you tell us, evan, about why there this backing of this kind of transparency as it pertains to a response to russia? >> i think, fred, one of the things that's happening right now is the opening of the floodgates of all of the information that the intelligence services and the fbi are collect iing in the unid states for now. this statement, this joint statement from the homeland security department, the dni and the fbi says that it lays out a lot of technical analysis, a lot of joint collected data on hacking activities that targeted not only the election this past year but the last ten years. hacking into private sect oor
organizations, universities, we know the fbi has been keeping an eye on these activities by the russian security services, by the russian spy services and what this represents today is essentially the unleashing of this information to show publicly since the russians have been asking for proof that this is the proof they believe they collected. it's a highly technical information and the i.t. professionals in the world will spend time pouring over these documents looking over the technical aspects of this but the essence is that the united states the calling out russia for not only the hacks but also the hacking of private sector including the important parts of our infrastructure, the united states infrastructure telling the russians we've known what you've been up to. one of the most important parts of the sanctions lifted that the administration announced today, the six people -- you showed the
picture of those two hackers, the other four are members of the gru, including the chief of the russian military intelligence agency. so that is something that you don't normally see. you don't target those types of people in these organizations because, look, spies spy, that's what they do so usually there's some honor among spies, you don't normally go after their spies because you know you're doing the same thing. so as far as what matthew is talking about just now and the russian response, we can expect that the russians will out members of the u.s. intelligence community who are in russia, who are undercover as diplomats, people who work for the cia, people who work for the nsa who work in russia and that's probably going to be the extent of the response it's going to be diplomatic tit for tat, the kind of things we've been seeing for decades. >> so evan, while in this statement it's underscoring this
activity "this activity by russian intelligence services is part of a decade-long campaign of cyber-enabled operations directed at the u.s. government and its citizens." does this statement or even through your sources reveal that this perhaps just exemplifies the more public reaction that the u.s. has brought but not necessarily that it's the first? the other reactions u.s. may have had over the ten-year period may have been quiet. it wasn't made public like this today exemplifies. >> that's right. from talking to official wes know the u.s. has been doing the same activity. one of the things that i think has happened in the past year, a lot of people believe that what they were doing to us in the past year, what they were doing in the united states is a response to activities that the united states for a long time in russia or in its allies, the country surrounding russia that
they view as very important parts of our security apparatus, of their security cordon to protect themselves from nato. they believe the u.s. has been asked this game for a long time. so they were simply responding. that's the view of the russian government if you look at the documents the obama administration has put out today they're saying the russians went too far. it's gone beyond the regular spying, it's the dissemination of that information that went extraordinarily too far from what we normally see from spy services. >> evan perez, thanks so much. this just in, this crossing our cnn international service, russia says similar steps will be taken in response to the expulsions of 35 russia diplomats according to russian foreign ministry spokesperson rand david andelman is back with me now.
so your reaction to this statement. your reaction of this picture of a lame duck where we hear this from russia where they'll be doing the same thing. we're back to a cold war setting tit for tat. >> it is a cold war. i started covering the cold for what the lathe 1970s, i was the "new york times" bureau chief for the'd satellite countries and in the '80s in the soviet union in moscow. so you know it has a lot of that same feeling. the difference is there's more transparency, not an iron curtain like that. the east european satellite
countries are a part of nato right now. russia is a competitor of ours in so many different ways but cold war suggests what it is. it's not a hot war. we don't have to worry about missiles being launch in case someone sets a catastrophic mistake. a cold war is not -- when i was at the nato cyber command? october in estonia they told me what makes it a cyber war is when people start getting hurt and people can if you attack the electrical grid for instance and so on. and up to that point we're not there yet right now it's tit for tat. the russians did something bad in attacking our way of life. we have to respond in some fashion. that's how things involved in a cold war not a hot war. >> so it was a matter of relations but you just touched on the cyber activity makes it different because it's impacting
day to day lives and cok potentially do so further. so should it still be called a cold war? >> i think we can but for these individuals it may not be just a cold war. those individuals, that one particular individual whose wanted poster we saw if the fbi does want them and contacts interpol, if those people show up in any interpol-related country they can be seized, they can be taken back and extradited to the united states. it will be interesting to see that does happen. >> just at the type of the iceberg in this conversation. we'll take a short break for now and have much more when we come back.
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an official says the u.s. is aware of isis lead eabu bakr al baghdadi. this after no sign of the terror chief. earlier this month, a reward was increased to $25 million for information leading to his capture. let's go to pentagon correspondent barbara starr. barbara, what are you hearing about al baghdadi's possible movement movements. >> well, high friday, a u.s. official is saying to quote correctly in the last few weeks we've been aware of some of baghdadi's movements. they're not saying what it means because it's sincive the information. it's not realtime intelligence. it's not telling where you say baghdadi is right now but it is telling us in the last few weeks they've had some kind of report that they are really exploring much further to see if they can begin to pin down where he's been, who he might have been talking to. where he's moving.
they're not even saying this point whether he's in iraq or syria. this is one of the first indications we have in many, many months of the potential of his whereabouts. that video that shows him in the mosque in mosul, iraq, that's over two years old. last month there was an audio recording of him but there's been no sign of him since that video in july, 2014, that has been verified. so now what we know is the u.s. intelligence community, the u.s. military has something that they are looking into. they're hoping they can take this tip, move it forward, begin to establish some sort of pattern of where he might have been and whether or not they can go after him. fred? >> barbara starr, thank you so much. back to to our breaking news. u.s. senator john mccain and lindsey graham reacting just momentsing too the obama
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welcome back. more reaction now coming from the obama administration's imposing of 35 russian operatives who now must leave the u.s., one in maryland and one in new york also being used by russian operatives in the u.s. also now must be shut down. then there will be sanctions coming as well amongst a number of russian operatives in the u.s. according to the obama white house. let's talk more about this. we've seen and heard lots of comparisons being made to a cold
war daéjà vu. general mark hertling was doing border patrol then. general, you have some ideas about this. what are the differences when we talk about cyber attacks and that being the impetus of why people are seeing parallels to the cold war? do you see parallels? >> this is very interesting because i hear a lot of people talking about this is a new cold war. having done multiple border patrols as a new lieutenant and then later as a major in my career, back when we were on the east german/west german border. you knew when things were happening. you knew when the other side was skirmishing with you, when they were conducting intelligence operations and sending people across. >> what do you mean? it was out in the open? >> sure. i mean, they would cross into the no-man's land between the two borders. we would be watching each other from both sides at border
outposts. it was serious business. now what you have is that non-physicality of cyber threats, where it -- they're even called in the early stages stealth operations. the better you are, the less people know you're conducting them. and then it turns into cyber warfare in conjunction with conventional warfare and straight out cyber warfare. you can seed mayhem and seed confusion and distrust without anyone knowing where it's coming from if you do it right. that's why i think the deterrence for this kind of a war and much more important. because when it gets into the society itself, when the attacks come against the military, it's one thing. when they come against the society, the banking industries, the electronic grid, some of those kinds of things, it's much more difficult to detect. there are greater vulnerabilities and many more means. in a cyber war you literally have hundreds of target sets and
trillions of targets, when you are going after an enemy. that's why i think this is much more dangerous than a cold war, because it's been going on for a while. we just haven't pointed it out. >> in this case the obama white house, the intelligence community is saying this kind of cyber attacking, cyber hacking, did indeed impact u.s. elections. we saw in a joint statement coming from dhs as well as the fbi that they've watched this kind of activity for ten years, but this was the breaking point, to impact u.s. elections. so it is, in your view, important that this obama white house was very transparent, was out in the open, made it very public that sanctions are on the horizon, that the expulsions of 35 russian operatives, the shutting down of two compounds, that it was important for this white house to reveal all of this, or do you see potential dangers that come with all of that? >> there are certainly dangers.
make no mistake. what you're talking about, i used the phrase cyber skirmishing. that's been going on for decades. when it takes the kinds of threat that russia has imposed lately. taking the data and using it to create mistrust and mayhem within our government, that's when it gets to the point where president obama has to say, hey, let's look at what the u.s. vulnerabilities are before i announce what i'm going to do and then say here is what i'm going to do. there will certainly be reaction between vladimir putin and the russian cyber command on this. the question is, before we attack in any kind of military operation, before you attack, you have to be prepared to defend a counter-attack. that's what i think mr. obama has probably been doing over the last several months, ensuring that we are prepared for that kind of counter attack before he
rolls out this transparent response. >> so now there is a counter attack to the counter attack, according to news sources that are saying russia is now saying they're going to do the same thing, they're going to deport or expel 35 u.s. diplomats that are in russia. that had to be expected. and if not, what does that tell you about the next potential step in how this back and forth will seemingly go on forever. >> i guarantee you it was expected and a topic of a great deal of discussion within the national security council. that's part of the deal. when you say, hey, we're going to expel a great number of your diplomats you expect the other country to do the same thing. when you talk about what are called branches and sequels, what comes next and how do you deal with it. i'm sure the national security council, the defense establishment and president obama have all said, we expect
to have our diplomats expelled now and we expect to be attacked again. let's be prepared and ramp up. >> general, thank you so much. i'm fredicka whitfield. much more straight ahead. our cnn special live coverage continues right after this. for you to create custom t-shirts and other apparel for all of life's events. get free shipping and on-time delivery guaranteed. go to customink.com to get started today.
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president obama had said he would respond to russia at a time of his choosing, and it looks as though that time has arrived. "the lead" starts right now. payback. the white house taking serious action against russia for meddling in the u.s. election. action that could take the cyber war to a new level. and moscow is already really unhappy about it. movement. after months of nothing, a u.s. official now says there are signs that the isis leader baggabu bakr al baghdadi is on the move. but might he